News | Health Seven-day access toGPs onway

IMPROVED access to GP services should be available to all patients by October 1. This will include appointments

at evenings and weekends, bank holidays and across Easter, Christ- mas andNewYear – and “effective access to out-of-hours and urgent care services”. The changes followGovernment

pressure and additional funding and now have the backing of the budget-holding GP-led NHS West Clinical Commissioning Group, who have agreed a 12-month pilot scheme. The 60 general practices in West

Kent, serving 484,460 patients, are now grouped in seven clusters with elements of co-operative working. A survey in 2016 indicated 78%

of people in West Kent rated their overall experience of making ap- pointments as very or fairly good – a 2%decline on 2012. The extended access must be

well advertised to patients. Dr Bob Bowes, chairman ofWest

Big changes at

top for CCGs THE eight budget-holding, GP-led NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) across Kent and Medway have agreed to develop a strategic commissioning function. Dr Bob Bowes, chairman ofWest

Kent CCG, expects this to lead to healthimprovements andlonger life expectancy in parts ofWestKent by tackling health inequalities. Thekeyaims are:developingcom-

missioning proposals at a greater scale; building capacity and capabil- ity across the CCGs by shared effort and knowledge; and increasing effi- ciencies within commissioning through reduced duplication and sharedmanagement costs. Asingle seniormanagement team

has been established and the lead role (as accountable officer) is held by Glenn Douglas, former chief ex- ecutive ofMaidstone andTunbridge Wells hospital trust.

999 recovery

AFTER a long period of seriously missed targets the local ambulance service is improving. In May SECAmb missed the na-

tional standard for life-threatening calls (sevenminutes) by 37 seconds, better than the national average. Its response time to other emer-

gency calls (target 18 minutes) was 17.07 minutes, beating the national average, but targets for non-emer- gency calls are still beingmissed.

30 Malling September 2018

Kent CCG, told the Downs Mail: “Extra appointments will be avail- able fromOctober 1 to book in each of our seven cluster areas until 8pm Monday to Friday, with slots at weekends and bank holidays too. “These are expected to be espe-

cially helpful for working people, commuters, parents and others who cannot get to a GP practice

during normal hours (8am to 6pm Monday to Friday). “Nearer the time we will an-

nounce times and locations where the new appointments will be of- fered. “These pre-bookable appoint-

mentswill supplementwhat is cur- rently on offer. People who need an urgent GP appointment should

phone theirGP practice orNHS111 as now.” GP receptionists and administra-

tive staff across west Kent have also trained to become “care navi- gators” to help patients get the support they need, first time. Staffwill ask if they are happy to

be asked some simple questions to make sure they see the right person for their needs. If it turns out the patientwants to

lose weight, stop smoking, or start counselling, for instance, they will be given contact details for the service that can help them– saving their time and energy, and freeing up aGP appointmentwhich can be used by someone else. Other potential options for pa-

tients include pharmacists, support for people living with mental health problems, and support for older people or carers, as well as different members of the practice team.

Action to speed up X-ray results

ACTION is being taken to ensure a national set of standards is met in reviewing radiology examinations. It follows a review by the Care

Quality Commission (CQC) which exposed potential delays in x-ray results being shared with clinicians, or being examined by those with- out specialist training. The quality regulator is now call-

ing for national turnaround times and improvedmonitoring guidance for trusts to protect patients from the potential risk of delayed or missed diagnoses. Analysis of the data submitted by

a sample group of 30 trusts re- vealed that the trusts’ own timescales set for reporting radio- logical examinations referred from

emergency departments varied widely – from an hour at one trust, to twoworking days at another. For outpatient referrals, the expected timescales ranged fromfive days to 21 days. The CQC review also found some

trustswith a backlog of images and lengthy waiting times for patients awaiting their results. Those reporting significant back-

logs were required to explain what action they were taking to address this, and as at July 2018, all had cleared or significantly reduced their backlogs. Professor Ted Baker, the CQC’s

Chief Inspector of Hospitals, said: “While our review found some ex- amples of good practice it also re-

vealed a major disparity in timescales for interpreting and re- porting on examinations, meaning that some patients are waiting far longer than others for their results.” A spokesman for Maidstone and

TunbridgeWellsNHS Trust said: “All trustswere contacted in light of the issues raised, and we provided evi- dence and assurances that Maid- stone and Tunbridge Wells Trust was not at risk. “The CQC was satisfied with the

response we gave and we have noted the CQC’s subsequent report and the actions within it. “Radiology examinations are re-

ported in order of level of urgency and we always aim to provide the best possible service to patients.”

Hospital goes digital for records

MAIDSTONE Hospital will be switching to an all-electronic sys- tem of patient records next au- tumn. Maidstone and TunbridgeWells

NHS Trust says the roll-out of the Allscripts clinical software will prepare it for closer working with other trusts in Kent, and help it achieve its digital ambitions for the next 10 years. Chief executiveMiles Scott,who

took up the leadership of the trust in January, said: “My ambition for

the trust is to deliver outstanding staff and patient experience. Sun- risewill support that by giving cli- nicians the information they need to deliver excellent patient care. “At the same time, investment in

digital solutions will give us the datawe need to respond to the de- mand and financial pressures we are facing.” The EPR (electronic patient

records) will be rolled out in the autumn of 2019. JimMacDonald, chief clinical in-

formation officer, said clinicians had been fully involved in review- ing the system, and were im- pressed by theway it captured and displayed data. “At themoment, cliniciansmove

between paper and IT systems to find the information they need,” he said. “Having the right information,

in the right place, at the right time, will enable us to improve our working processes and patient care.”

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48